Wild/LIFE, a Guild of Book Workers exhibition, opens at the Robert C. Williams Museum of Papermaking on Friday, September 17, 2021. The exhibition runs through Friday, December 3, 2021.
This exhibition features approximately 50 works by members of the Guild of Book Workers, a book artists organization that promotes interest in and awareness of the tradition of the book and paper arts by maintaining high standards of workmanship, hosting educational opportunities, and sponsoring exhibits. Members were invited to interpret the theme of “wildlife” in any way they wish, be it literal or abstract, humorous or serious. In a biological sense, wildlife describes the myriad of creatures sharing this planet, interacting and adapting, all connected to each other and their environment. "Wild" also describes an untamable essence that survives despite the constraints of society and culture. As craftspeople, knowledge of materials and keen observation of how they behave (and often how they refuse to comply) is an integral part of the practice of book making, and a reminder of how traditional bookbinding materials originate in nature.
"This exhibit is such a treat for the eyes," Jerushia Graham, Museum Coordinator, says. "There are so many intricate details and incredible hand-work that you can see. Books are personal items, and these artists have really put their own interpretation on what it means to be 'wild.'"
ABOUT THE GUILD OF BOOK WORKERS: https://guildofbookworkers.org/about
The Guild of Book Workers was founded in 1906 to "establish and maintain a feeling of kinship and mutual interest among workers in the several hand book crafts." Among its early members are well-known artist-craft workers such as bookbinder Edith Diehl and printers and typographers W.A. Dwiggins and Frederic W. Goudy.
The Guild still believes, as did its founders, that there is a responsibility to sustain the crafts involved with the production of fine books. Its members hope to broaden public awareness of the hand book arts, to stimulate commissions of fine bindings, and to stress the need for sound book conservation and restoration.
Over 100 years later, the Guild is still vital, with regular traveling exhibitions, a journal, ten regional Chapters, and an annual Standards of Excellence seminar. Guild membership exceeds 800 and has expanded internationally. The organization is still run by volunteers. GBW is incorporated as a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization based in New York.